Going to the gym can be especially hard for those with a busy work schedule. Even factoring in an hour of an intense workout sometimes becomes elusive because of that unscheduled meeting. Some spend vast sums of money in memberships, but seldom find the time to make use of it. It's on those occasions you wonder if you had the benefit of a gym in the comfort of your own home.

Stress can impact us in different ways, and finding the time to spend all of that pent-up energy can become difficult. Motivating yourself to just show up can be a task at times.

You can even bring the gym to your home. The internet is awash with instructions, as are our idiot boxes. Why not lay out a yoga mat and do those exercises along? There are several benefits to working out at home, besides being extremely cost-effective.

A lot of us do want to look and feel healthy, but lack the determination of the drive to do so. Signing up with a gym is no guarantee for fitness, and working out at home can be just as rewarding. It also gives you the choice of trying out various kinds of workouts, and not just the one your gym offers.

Also read: Instense bodyweight exercises you can do at home

  1. Benefits of a home gym
  2. Things to keep in mind while building a home gym
  3. Buy equipment according to your fitness goals
  4. Precautions to take with a home gym
  5. Buying according to budget
  6. Takeaways for creating a home gym

Contrary to popular belief, working out at home doesn't require a lot of space. There are a lot of benefits you can have by creating a home gym. Exercising or being regularly active reduces the risk of many health problems such as:

Home training helps you get all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle without having to shell out thousands in a gym membership, along with several options at your disposal. You can do yoga, aerobics, weight training, cardio and other intense workouts as well. Some other benefits include of working out at home include:

  • Anytime fitness: You don’t need to worry about the timings of your workout, or miss that class you had signed up for. Having all the equipment at home gives you the advantage of exercising anytime you want. If you have meetings to attend or are coming back late, you don’t need to worry about skipping gym. You can train any time of the day.
  • Your personal time: Most people associate gyms with people just going about their business. Unfortunately, it couldn't be further from the truth thanks to all the chatter, unhygienic surroundings, people hogging a set of weights away from you, besides having to listen to music you don't even like. At home, you can train yourself at your own comfort level. Having a home gym can encourage other family members to take it up too!
  • Money and time saver: Sometimes, the hardest part about working out in a gym is showing up, especially when it is far from home. A home gym is a one-time investment and can also save a lot of time. You don’t need to worry about paying a high fee every month.
  • Prioritized plan: You will be able to design your own gym according to your fitness goal. You don't need to invest in unnecessary items or machines. If your goal is to lose weight then you don’t need to spend on big heavy machines. You can add your own variety of equipment according to your desired goal.
  • Zero embarrassment: Sometimes, turning up at the gym is not as simple as it sounds. People with body issues find it difficult to navigate their way through a gym, often due to a fear of being judged by others. At home, you are completely on your own. You can learn without embarrassment at your own pace.
  • No more excuses: Not feeling up to a gym class, too tired or any other reason you may mask as not wanting to go to the gym get eliminated with the choice of working out at home.

Building a home gym is not an easy task. Before planning on buying equipment for a home gym, you must understand and prioritize things such as:

  • Setting a fitness goal: Decide whether you want to lose weight or gain strength. After prioritizing your desired goal it's easier to make a list of necessary equipment. For beginners, it can be hard to decide equipment to invest in. First, learn your workout style and then consider investing in a home gym accordingly.
  • Find space: You need to make some space in your home to workout or to store afterwards. This also depends on your equipment list; if you're on a tight budget and planning to buy only necessary items then you don’t need a whole garage to fill up. However, if you want to buy heavy machines, then it can take up a lot of space.
  • Budget: This is the most important factor which influences your purchases for the home gym. It is always beneficial to start small and with basic equipment. If you have a low budget, you can also opt for second-hand equipment.

Once you have set a fitness goal for yourself over the next six months or a year, getting to actually buy some of the equipment is the start of your set-up. Remember to always start with the basic equipment you cannot do without, and then build upwards from there:

For weight loss (a low budget list)

If your goal is to get fit or lose some extra weight from your belly, you can think about purchasing some key equipment that do not require a lot of investment:

  • Yoga mat
  • Stepper
  • Jump rope
  • Balance trainer
  • Medicine ball
  • Mini cross trainer
  • Foam roller
  • Stability ball

For strength training (a moderate budget list)

Building strength, adding muscle mass or beefing up require the additional use of weights along with certain exercise-specific equipment:

  • Kettlebells - 2kg to 10kg (1 or a pair of kettlebells)
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Small barbell rod - weighing 10kg or 4-6 feet in length
  • Resistance bands - A pair according to your strength levels
  • Pull-up bar - A pull-up or chin-up bar is easy to install between the door panels.
  • Weighted plates - of rubber or iron make depending on your budget
  • Adjustable bench

For overall training (a high budget list)

If money is not a constraint and enough space is available for an elaborate home gym, you can begin with some of basic equipment:

  • A set of weighted plates
  • A set of barbells
  • A set of dumbbells
  • Wheel roller
  • EZ - preacher bar and preacher bench
  • A flat bench
  • Squat rack

Tip - For electronic or more elaborate machines, opt to go for second-hand equipment that can be obtained for much less money than their market price.

At home, under no supervision, it becomes more dangerous to perform exercises you need to be extra careful about. The risk of workout injuries rise up, taking up space for movement, not the right flooring, putting the equipment back properly, besides your family’s privacy are all risk factors.

Despite the challenges, working out in a home gym can be just as beneficial if done with some precautions:

  • Virtual trainer: In the absence of a trainer you need to be more careful and cautious. Take help from YouTube videos or a professional friend who can guide you with the correct movements and posture.
  • Surroundings: Sometimes you need additional space to perform some exercises. At home, it’s hard to manage enough space for movement. In doing so, you need to be aware of your surroundings such as fans, lamps, lights, tables, chairs as well as the floor. Always keep an eye out for such things to avoid getting hurt.
  • Research: Before performing any new exercise first do some research on it. Learn the perfect posture and the movement before proceeding to doing it with full intensity. For this, you can use the internet, watch videos for reference or take classes from an online coach.
  • Spotter: Although it is hard to get a spotter working out at home, getting help from a friend or a neighbour can prevent injuries, as well as challenging yourself just that much more. Find a gym partner to workout together.
  • Warm-up: Much like in the gym, do not forget to warm-up before any workout. You can try jumping jacks, high knees or a walk in the neighbourhood.
  • Rest: Having a gym at home doesn’t mean that you can train everyday. Your body needs time to recover, and after an intense workout give yourself the required amount of rest.
  • Management: Management is really important in a home gym. If you leave your things anywhere it can hurt other members of the family. Find a place to store your equipment away after completing your workout.

Here's a reference chart for those keen on setting up a fitness facility at home, especially on a budget:

For weight loss:

Budget under 500 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band.
Budget under 1000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, stability ball, wheel roller.
Budget under 3000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, stability ball, foam roller, stepper, medicine ball.
Budget under 5000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, stability ball, foam roller, wheel roller, stepper, medicine ball, balance trainer.
Budget under 10000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, stability ball, foam roller, wheel roller, stepper, medicine ball, balance trainer, mini cross-trainer, weight plates, adjustable pull-up bar.
Budget under 15000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, stability ball, foam roller, wheel roller, stepper, medicine ball, balance trainer, mini cross-trainer, weight plates, adjustable bench, a pair of dumbbells, pull-up bar. 

For strength training:

Budget under 500 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band.
Budget under 1000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, a pair of kettlebells, wheel roller.
Budget under 3000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, a pair of kettlebells, adjustable dumbbell, small barbell rod, weight plates.
Budget under 5000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, a pair of kettlebells, adjustable dumbbell, set of barbells, weight plates, adjustable pull-up bar.
Budget under 10000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, sets of dumbbells, sets of barbells, weight plates, pullup bar, sets of kettlebells, adjustable bench, weight plates (rubber).
Budget under 15000 Yoga mat, jumping rope, resistance band, sets of dumbbells, sets of barbells, sets of kettlebells, sets of weight plates(metal), adjustable bench, pull-up bar, preacher bench, EZ bar, medicine ball, stability ball, balance trainer, stepper.

Having a gym at home has its share of advantages, but it could be dangerous and less effective as you may not see results as contrasting as you would while working out in the gym, primarily because of the surroundings that stop you from intensifying your exercises. To get improved or incremental outcomes from working out, here are some rules:

  • Schedule a workout time to stick to
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Get appropriate rest
  • Always follow correct postures and movements

Home gyms can be incredibly effective, based on any workout regime and can be suited to any budgets. Having a basic set of yoga mats, resistance bands or a kettlebell are enough to perform a vast combination of exercises, and as you acquire more equipment, the options are endless.

One always has to consider the space available at their disposal as well as proper aftercare of the equipment. Eventually, however, your fitness journey should be about the actual exercises rather than the quality of the equipment you have.

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